Before a man was sucked into a massive sinkhole under his house last week, sinkholes were a popular issue.
Homeowners are becoming more and more confused about sinkholes as their number of claims increases throughout the state of Florida and insurance companies modify how they manage them.
Continue reading to find out how to identify a sinkhole and what to do about it.
How can I determine whether I have a sinkhole?
Here are a few indicators of potential sinkhole activity. The more you have, the more crucial it is to have your house checked out and assessed right away.
1. Are there any of your doors—screen doors included—that are difficult to close or open?
2. Any of your windows that are difficult to open or "stick" and "jam"?
3. Does the cost of your water or electricity seem excessive?
4. Have you ever had any strange plumbing issues in your house?
5. Does your house create odd popping and creaking noises at night?
6. Are the kitchen and bathroom cabinets and drawers normal and level?
7. Has a space developed between the backsplash on your kitchen or bathroom counter and the wall?
8. Have any shower tiles broken, popped off, or become loose?
9. Do any of your walls or the ceiling have any gaps or separations?
10. Do any of your walls or the floor have any gaps between them?
11. Do the walls within your home have any cracks? Throughout your garage?
12. Are the corners of the door and window frames cracked or otherwise damaged?
13. Do you have any floor tiles that are damaged or sound hollow?
14. Your garage floor, as well as your home's, do they have any cracks?
15. Is the floor level to you? (Tip: Place a marble or golf ball on several locations on a hard floor and observe whether it rolls anywhere.)
16. Any strange water stains or colour changes on the walls or ceilings?
17. When it rains, are there any water leaks or flooding?
18. Does your driveway have any cracks? Just how big are they?
19. Do your outside walls have any cracks? How broad?
20. Do your windows have any cracks?
21. Do any fractures resemble ascending or descending "stair steps"?
22. Do the walls, floor, or ceiling of your garage have any cracks?
23. Are there any fractures that appear to be expanding despite "normal settlement"?
24. Have any of the fissures gotten wider or longer?
25. Do you possess any broken or unusual roof tiles?
26. Has water or a leak occurred in your pool?
27. Do any of the bushes or grass in your yard have "dead patches"?
28. Does your yard have any slopes?
29. Are there any small depressions or dips in your yard?
30. Does your yard have any holes?
31. Your fence or retaining wall may have shifted, relocated, or developed cracks.
32. Exists a nearby lake, canal, or drainage pond?
33. Have any houses in your community experienced sinkholes?
Possibly, I have a sinkhole. What's next?
Calling your insurance provider should be your next move if you assess your home and discover evidence of sinkhole damage. Have a copy of your insurance declarations page on hand before proceeding.
Keep the first call brief and to the point. They will grill you with inquiries. Probably only your name, insurance number, the nature of the harm you are observing, and the time when you first became aware of it.
Important information: You must also establish a "date of loss" or the time the damage actually happened. Your claim can be rejected if the damage happened before you bought your house or that insurance policy.
Is it conceivable that I do not have a sinkhole even though my home exhibits some of these symptoms?
Fortunately, yes. Many of these damages can be attributed to the foundation of your home sinking or a loose joist. Your insurance company will conduct an inspection, but be aware that occasionally insurance companies will wrongly attribute the fault to other reasons.
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